Opportunities and Challenges of Implementing Online English Courses in Iranian Public and Private Schools

Document Type : Research Article


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran



With the rapid growth of technology, face-to-face education has been overshadowed by virtual or online education. The increasing popularity of this educational mode has inspired a huge number of researchers worldwide to study its potential challenges and opportunities in different educational contexts. Nonetheless, the benefits and obstacles of online English courses in school contexts have rarely been explored, which warrants further empirical investigations into this subject. In an endeavor to narrow this lacuna, the present inquiry scrutinized the opportunities and challenges of implementing online English courses in Iranian middle schools. In doing this, the electronic version of a researcher-developed questionnaire was distributed among a sample (N = 315) of administrators, teachers, students, and parents recruited from different public and private schools in Iran. Respondents’ answers to the open-ended questionnaire were analyzed using MAXQDA. The data analysis resulted in 3 higher-order themes and 17 subthemes. The examination of the generated themes revealed that virtual education’s challenges outweighed its benefits. The study outcomes displayed the majority of participants perceived pedagogical and technical factors as the most important challenges of virtual courses. The outcomes also demonstrated that most respondents mentioned the possibility of reviewing the course content and accessibility of educational tools and resources as 2 major benefits of virtual courses. The study’s implications for administrators, teachers, students, and parents are also discussed.


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